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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

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44                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER xvm

where the scenery is finest there is always something
lacking. There is no atmosphere. All is sharp, colour-
less, naked. Even many of the flowers are queer, and
some are positively ugly. Many have thorns, some are
leather-like, others woolly, a few sticky. Inconspicuous
flowers and large leathery leaves are very common.
The seed-vessels of some are far prettier than the flowers,
and brighter in colour. In several the calyx grows after
the corolla has withered, and becomes bright pink or
orange, like a very gay but only partially - opened
blossom. Umbelliferce predominate this month. Com-
posites too are numerous. All, even bulbs, send down
their roots very deep.

After leaving camp yesterday and crossing a high pass
we descended into the earth's interior, only to ascend a
second pass by a steep zigzag. Suddenly a wall of rock
appeared as if to bar progress, but on nearing it a
narrow V-shaped slit was seen to afford a risky passage,
offering no other foothold than smooth shelving rock on
the inside for a number of yards, with a precipice above on
the right and below on the left. Ledges of slippery rock
led up to it, and Screw was jumping and scrambling up
these when the guides howled to me to stop, and I was
lifted off somehow. The white Arab was rolling and
struggling in the V, Screw following lost his footing, and
the two presented a confusion of hoofs and legs in the
air and bodies struggling and rolling through the slit till
they picked themselves up with cut legs. The guides
tried vainly to find some way by which the caravans
which followed much later might avoid this risk, and the
Agha went down the pass which had been so laboriously
ascended to give directions for its passage.

The charvadars on reaching the difficulty made
attempts to turn it but failed; some loads were taken
off and carried by men, and each mule struggled safely